PB approves P1M as FSTP financial aid to implementing LGUs

The Cebu Provincial Board has approved the P1 million financial aid for the expansion of Farmer-Scientist Training Program (FSTP) on its April 23 regular session.

Governor Hilario P. Davide III and the mayors will sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the utilization of the funds, according to Provincial Agriculturist Dr. Roldan Saragena.

The governor’s target is to train all farmers in the 51 local government units (LGUs) of Cebu Province under the FSTP training program as mandated by Executive Order 710.

FSTP also targets an average yield of at least three tons per hectare using high-yielding varieties of corn.

Almost all towns and component cities of the province have joined the FSTP training. The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) is looking forward to bringing the program to all farming barangays of the province.

The approved financial assistance will be released in three tranches.

Dr. Romulo Davide, Capitol agriculture consultant, prepared the guidelines for the use of funds. At least 50 percent will be spent for FSTP training program while 20 percent will be disbursed for farm inputs and fertilizers seeds and others.

Another 20 percent is to be spent for crop production and market assistance and 10 percent for other needs of farmers in the farm.

With the downloaded funds, the municipal and city mayors through their FSTP coordinators take charge of the full implementation of the three phases of FSTP program in the barangays.

There will be a provincial FSTP team, which is now divided from previously two to three to oversee the conduct of the trainings.

The farmers should be able “to increase their crops yield and income above and beyond poverty level,” read Dr. Davide’s statement in the guidelines.

Even when FSTP is corn-based production program, the farmers are planting not only corn. They also plant other cash crops like vegetables, sweet potato, cassava, banana and others as intercrops in rotation with corn.

They are encouraged to raise domestic animals and poultry to maximize farm production.

In the MOA, the province also offers awards and recognition to farmer-scientists whose average corn yield reaches six to seven tons per hectare with an annual income of P100,000.

The coordinators and mayors, “who have rendered excellent FSTP services above and beyond the calls of duty, shall also be considered for award and recognition.”

The Cebu Provincial Government through the OPA continues to hold FSTP trainings to LGUs where the program is not yet implemented, such as Compostela and Santa Fe.